How to get golden balls during your vacation in New Zealand?!?

The ramassage of the kiwifrute visto por oune émigré o como forrarse hasta los cojones !

Do you like old tractors, smoke and hairy balls ? Have you ever worked in a garage? This job is for you! Warning, reading this article can disillusioned about the actual content of the works of Tolkien, an author who had a particularly dirty mind, as can be seen if one pays attention to his dubious allusions to zobbits who live in holes! Huh? with an h?

(Translated from the french knol on same subject “Comment se faire des couilles en or pendant vos vacances” March 2010)

A new Elgoldendo is born!

The dream of everyone, getting golden balls, is now becoming possible.

Young people from all countries, if you measure between 134 and 147 cm, are not amputees of either arms or legs and can walk on all fours, do not miss this opportunity to  do some green, very green,  tourism.

New Zealand is the country offering this opportunity to you!

Buy a plane ticket, ask for a Working Holidays Visa (sic) and while spending all the money you have brought in NZ, you might work a bit in the great fraternal organization of fruit picking under Actinidia vines, better known as the kiwi.

Step # 1: being at the right place!

New Zealand is half the size of France …. for the area! In length, it is twice as large, with a strait separating the two islands (but swimmable if you’re a little trained, orcas do not swim that fast).
The harvests begin around, but never where you are: sample dialogue “I was in Blenheim last week, the apricots were already finished, but apples did not yet started … ”  “Really? I was in Picton, the apples were already finished, but the vintage would not begin until three weeks ….”

Step # 2: find a backpacker hostel

Backpackers are easy to find on the internet. Many have a name allusive to old hobbits jokes difficult to decipher today: as  “Hairy Berry” … ( Hobbit means “inhabitant of holes,” I invent nothing: [1])

Send them an email and they will answer “yes, there is work here, it is due to begin very soon, people are there and ready to work. If you want to come, its better to book “.  If you are answered “no there is no work now” you probably made a mistake in the address,  it’s not a backpacker hostel.

Rush on your favorite means of transport: bus, bike, used car, auto-stop and rally the Backpaker as soon as possible. Buy one night, yes, but a week is cheaper. Buy one week in a dormitory (it’s cheaper), yes, but a month is cheaper, buy one month payable in advance (eventually, it’s quite expensive, especially at once!).

Life in the backpacker

OK  there you are, then begins the long wait. For the next morning, finally, no more trace of work starting than of butter on a brooch.  You hang in jandals in the backpacker all the day after you have been given some vague promises of work for the coming days.

The backpack is organized for pleasure and well-being of its occupants:

  •  The bunk beds akllow to put a day worker down and a night worker at the top, that way they are sure to meet twice a day …
  • A pool is usually placed in the lounge, where you can hear it from all the rooms. The goal is to hit the billiard balls in making as much noise as possible. If you fail, you can send the balls on the ground or better, drop the cue stiks every five minutes (put them on the wall, they will fall by themselves).
  • The TV is the perfect place to get acquainted and engage in  loud voices conversations with someone while the poor foreigners who do not understand 3 or 4% of the movie are struggling desperately to improve their understanding of English (all they have to do is listening to you).

second day: see the first day

third day: see the second and first day …

fourth day, you’re tired of getting up at 7 for nothing, you canceled your alarm and you go to bed very late to profit or your future lying abed late .

You are awakened at 6 o’clock because there is a big fuss in the hotel. All of your roommates are frantically preparing their picnic. What? What happens ? We finaly go to work ?

Finally, dressed from head to foot and having prepared your picnic, you learn that those who work that day are those of the “other team”, not you in fact. Do not bother to go back to bed, start bumming directly as the previous days.
At day’s end, you learn that you will ultimately work the next morning at nine o’clock.

The orchard

At half past eight, you leave the backpacker to the workplace. You follow the car of another worker who knows the place. He is apparently a former Formula 1 driver who tries not to lose the hand.

OK, everybody is there, work can begin! Except that:

The Kiwis are not dry and cannot be harvested. You wait two hours.

Variant: the Kiwis are dry but the owner decided to take advantage of the presence of 80 workers on his property for a treatment that improves the appearance of fruit. A contractor unload from his truck a vehicle that is a cross between a spray and suppository and begins to process the entire orchard with a product that is not dangerous, dixit team leaders (only irritating to skin and eyes dixit … the label). You wait one hour.

It remains that when spraying the Kiwis, they get wet. Once wet, they are no longer dry (do you follow this part a bit technical?). The wait continues for half an hour.

You finally enter the orchard. You are a fan of Lord of the Rings? So much the better, orchards have been planted by hobbits (or Periannath). The contract does not stipulate that you will work standing up! Do like everyone else, pick up on your knees and bring your basket in the trailer on all fours!

You are now plunged into the bustling medieval atmosphere, the purpose of your trip to New Zealand, when the slaves worked in fields as the lord trod the harvest on his horse. The modern version of the lord has no horse to go in orchards (they are not horses small enough), they have a quad instead. When you hear put put put put, be especially hard-working, or else watch the lashes.

If the producer is a woman, she rides her quad, but not in amazon. On the orther hand, if the driver carries another person, an inspector for example, with him on his quad, he does not ride behind him, it would cause too much closeness apparently between the genitals of the passenger and, uh, finally they avoid this situation because it is incompatible with the standards of kiwi society so the passenger gets on the side … (in the tandem parachute jump, it’s the Kiwi who is behind you, this position is allowed by their code of conduct).

Typical new zealander peasant: notice her boots and her little sensitivity to cold. Probably of Irish descent, given the color of the tractor.

The toilets

The orchard is equipped with toilets. YOU MUST USE THE TOILETS disent les panneaux, signs say, if you do not need to, force yourself. You should wash your hands after (soap and paper are not provided, this is not a philanthropic enterprise!). The rest of the year, when workers are not there, the orchard, which is often surrounded by electric fences, is used for grazing cows or sheep.The toilets are actually specially designed to accommodate them so that their droppings do not get on the floor of the orchard.  Hygiene is strictly controlled! New Zealand is in fact the country with the greatest number or ruminant trainers in the world [2]. The hardest part of training is not to teach them the use of toilets, once a cow has been well-trained, most often calves learn on their own.  No, the hard part is to get them to wash their hooves WITH SOAP.


If you like old tractors, nay, vintage tractors, this job is for you! To improve the atmosphere at work, the producers set at the time of harvesting a big show of all models produced in the 80, 70, 60 (giving them to some nearly 50 years, I do the math for you because I know that some of my readers are not very good at mental arithmetic). I have not managed to identify 50 years old tractors, but it may just be a perceptual problem that prevented me to (the horses were they still out of the tractor at that time? Or already inside the engine?). The driver often has an age matching the tractor’s.

Tractor dating back to the fifties ?

These tractors, therefore, have to be stored in a museum, I suppose, the rest of the year, so they dont appreciate to be started and stopped constantly to move ten meters every five minutes and finally get a ton of kiwis outside the orchard. They show their disapproval by issuing a huge cloud of blue smoke (petrol tractor) or black smoke (diesel tractor). That is why having already worked in a garage is a plus for you, your are used to breathe smoke in small doses so you will  be more resilient in this particularly harmful environment (some naive uninformed persons believe that the picking of kiwifruit is a work in nature then good for health).

There is a video that goes to the briefing before the start of the harvest, which explains, among other instructions that all the maneuvers must be done gently. It shows how not to do (go to full speed) and how to do (go slow). The drivers must have watched it but apparently they have received the wrong message (the volume was about zero) and compete to move as quickly as possible.

The drivers also apply spontaneously, it’s not in the video, a technique that allows the workers making more leg muscle, and not just their arm muscle : they start just when you bag is full.

The tractors are modified (in agreement with the NZ Ministry of Health ): the exhaust, instead of going upwards, sending unnecessary gas on plants is turned down and toward the back.  Freshly picked Kiwis undergo a last treatment (gas + dust) that kills pests. Others observers argue that it also allows more dust to move around.  The dust cloud is indeed a signal that allows workers to be aware of the arrival of the second tractor (when they are in the smoke from the first) and then throw themselves on the side (they have been warned that there are many “accidents”).


In fact this is not really a salary, remember: you are in “vacation”!  It’s working holidays = VACATION working, not holidaying WORK = work during the holidays (the word order inverted in English, comparativement with your finno-ougrian language,  it’s time you see it).

The pay comes a week after the effort.  Do not try to recalculate the wrong way, from the amount paid on your account, the number of hours you worked. This calculation simply does not work! Understand that in the calculation of “hours” by contractors (no, that word does not mean those who drive tractors) which hire the workforce and manage it for the planters, the word “hour”  do not have the same meaning as in everyday life.  Here is a rather technical and legal term that represents a work unit ideal, minus the time spent in briefings, the time spent waiting at the workplace, and the days waiting for work to restart when stopped by a little shower, etc..

  What?  golden balls?

Yes sir, you raising your hand at the back of the room, could you repeat that please?

“Golden balls?”  Ah, but sir, you did not follow the speech? Golden balls, it’s an expression, you will not “really” will get balls made of gold!

Ha, you knew it, but then can you re-specify your question?

“Geting golden balls, it means to make a lot of money!”

Uh, no no, you have not followed really, the golden balls, you will get them, those promised in the title of this article. You are going to get thousands, tens of thousands. The balls of gold, or golden kiwis is what you’ll pick up all day!

How to hold a gold testicle (you can keep your knees in normal position)

The picking of kiwifruit attested in folklore Kiwi (

attention “Kiwi” is a polysemous word, ie it contains several seeds)

There is an old hobbit song, not popularized by Tolkien’s publishers, unless you access its personal archives or confidential editions, attesting the antiquity of kiwi picking tradition :

It translates roughly as follows (the Sindarin language is very compact):

Oh a kiwi Kiwi full o' hair See me daddy-o 
Oh, I see it when I went in there See me daddy-o 
Oh a kiwi Kiwi full o' hair See me daddy-o 
Oh, hurrah for de golden See me daddy-o 
If you want to see a monkey dance 
See me daddy-o Broke a pepper in 'e ass 
See me daddy-o Oh a kiwi Kiwi full o' hair 
See me daddy-o Oh, hurrah for de golden See me daddy-o 
If you want to see a monkey trick See me daddy-o 
Broke a pepper 'pon the prick See me daddy-o 
Oh a kiwi Kiwi full o' hair See me daddy-o 
Oh, hurrah for de golden See me daddy-o

The largest giant Kiwi in the world , supposedly!

The town of Te Puke [3] boasts the largest giant Kiwi in the world (as silly sentence). This is actually the largest slice of kiwi in the world, as you can see yourself.

In addition, they completely forgot to make the hair!


  1. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots of lots of pegs for hats and coats — the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill — The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it — and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, diningrooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the lefthand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river. (kiwipedia :
  2. Of course, everyone knows that New Zealand has four million inhabitants and 40 million sheep. But those who have done those census are still in the process of counting the flies …
  3. Te Puke, this peaceful small village permanently crossed by almighty trucks !
    map of Te Puke worst orchards

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